Sales of the Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 surged across the globe on Friday, with eager buyers queuing up overnight and from early in the morning, waiting for stores to open.
From Hong Kong to London to New York, long queues extending across several blocks could be seen as the iPhone 5 went on sale in nine countries across Asia, Europe and North America.
Next week it will be available in 22 more countries.
The new iPhone 5 is taller, thinner and lighter than its predecessors, has a faster processor and better imaging capabilities.
There has been some criticism over the new Apple Maps which has replaced Google Maps, but that has failed to dampen the enthusiasm for the phone.
This is for the first time that Apple is releasing a phone that has nothing innovative or any distinctive feature about it.
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All the features available in its older models have been enhanced while its basic design has been changed to become more contemporary and in line with existing brands in the market.
Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.
According to a report in Kyodo News, pointing to the intense demand for the phone, police in Osaka, Japan, were investigating the theft of nearly 200 iPhones 5s, including 116 from one shop alone.
In Hong Kong an enterprising grey market operator managed to smuggle in about 200 iPhones before its official launch.
Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.